• Despite Puerto Rico break, DeSantis says he's still close to Trump

    By: Christopher Heath

    Updated:

    ORLANDO, Fla. - Appearing at a school event in Orlando on Wednesday, Republican nominee for governor Ron DeSantis said there is no divide between he and President Trump.

    “I don’t think anything has changed, so I think we’re good,” said DeSantis when asked if he and Trump remain close following the president’s statement on the death toll in Puerto Rico being inflated in the wake of Hurricane Maria.

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    On Sept. 13 President Trump tweeted, “3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico. When I left the Island, AFTER the storm had hit, they had anywhere from six to 18 deaths. As time went by it did not go up by much. Then, a long time later, they started to report really large numbers, like 3000...”

    The tweet brought a rebuke from state Rep. Bob Cortes, DeSantis’s state chairman of Puerto Rican outreach, who told Eyewitness News, "I have no reason to doubt the number of 2,975 deaths in Puerto Rico."

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    Hours later, the DeSantis campaign released a statement saying DeSantis “doesn’t believe any loss of life has been inflated.”

    In the wake of the disagreement, Politico reported that President Trump was upset with DeSantis not supporting him, with the outlet reporting that DeSantis had been, “accused of disloyalty for bucking the president.”

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    On Wednesday in Orlando, DeSantis downplayed the notion that he and President Trump were at odds, saying “sure” when asked if he still expects the president to come to Florida to campaign for him.

    However, DeSantis would not say when the last time he spoke to President Trump, or give any indication on a possible date for an event.

     

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